Kate joins the Queen’s carriage procession arrives at Royal Ascot

Kate joins the Queen’s carriage procession arrives at Royal Ascot

The Duchess of Cambridge led the glamour as the Royal Family turned out in force for the first day of Royal Ascot.  

Elegant in a blue lace creation by Elie Saab, Kate, 37, beamed as she caught up with Zara Tindall, 38, and Princess Eugenie, 29, at the Berkshire racecourse today. 

Mike Tindall, 40, appeared in particularly high spirits and was seen joking with Prince William, 36, Sophie Wessex, 54, and even the Queen, 93, during the lively family family gathering. 

Elsewhere Prince Charles, 70, was spotted chuckling as he and the Duchess of Cornwall, 71, spoke to a mounted jockey, while Prince Andrew and Prince Edward kept a rather more low profile. 

Also in attendance were Queen Maxima and King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, who are guests of the royal family after attending the Order of the Garter Service at Windsor Castle yesterday. 

The royal carriage procession this afternoon marked the official start of the annual five-day racing festival, which kicks off with the Queen Anne Stakes today and will run until Friday. 

It has long been a highlight of the British social calendar, with thousands of well-heeled racegoers turning out in their finest morning suits, summer dresses, and most extravagant hats for the occasion. 

Today was no exception, with Lady Kitty Spencer, Kirsty Gallacher, Jodie Kidd and Viscountess Weymouth among the high-profile attendees who dressed to the nines. 

Beautiful in blue! The Duchess of Cambridge and Zara Tindall appeared to co-ordinate their outfits for Royal Ascot today

Light-hearted moment: The Duchess of Cambridge and Zara Tindall share a joke, left. Right, Kate in Elie Saab

Special visitors: The Queen, centre, with Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, right, at Royal Ascot this afternoon

Touchy feely: Zara puts an affectionate arm around her uncle Prince Charles shoulders, left, and chats to Kate, right

Catching up: Princess Eugenie, Zara Phillips and the Duchess of Cambridge spend time together at Royal Ascot today

Sister, sister! Princess Eugenie wore a dress by Calvin Klein while Princess Beatrice (right, left image) wore a Maje dress and Bundle MacLaren hat. Right, Eugenie is pulled in for a bear hug by Mike Tindall, who is married to her cousin Zara

Giggle! The Duchess of Cambridge looked radiant as she broke into laughter during the high spirited family affair today

Horseplay! Mike Tindall enjoyed teasing Prince William, left and right, as the pair spent time together at Royal Ascot today

It’s infectious! The enthusiasm for the day’s events caught on and Prince Charles was seen chuckling with a jockey

Fashion statement: Kate departed from her typically tailored silhouette and stepped out in a flowing powder blue ensemble by Elie Saab – the first time she has worn the Lebanese label that has a host of A-list fans

Royal jester! Zara was spotted sharing a joke with the Queen and the Countess of Wessex at Royal Ascot this afternoon

All eyes were on the royals when they arrived in the traditional procession, with the Queen leading the way in a carriage with the Duke of York, and the King and Queen of the Netherlands. 

The Queen, who has only missed one Royal Ascot since ascending the throne, donned a typically vibrant ensemble for the occasion, pairing a periwinkle coat and matching hat with a floral dress in a similar tone. 

The look appeared to have been chosen to co-ordinate with the blue ensembles worn by Kate, Zara, Eugenie and Beatrice. 

Meanwhile Maxima looked elegant in a soft beige and burnt orange midi dress, which she wore with one of her signature statement hats.  

Reunited! The Duchess of Cambridge and Zara Tindall enjoy a close friendship and looked thrilled to see each other today

Air kisses: The Countess of Wessex and the Duchess of Cambridge greeted each other in the Royal Ascot enclosure

Affectionate: Zara Phillips also brought her cousin Princess Eugenie, pictured, in for a cuddle as they said hello

Chuckle with Charles! Zara shared a joke with her uncle as they greeted each other warmly at Royal Ascot this afternoon

Girls’ chat: At one point Eugenie, left, Zara, centre, and Kate, right, looked deep in conversation with each other

The colour complemented the softer blush and peach shades chosen by the Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Anne and Sophie, Countess of Wessex. 

The Duchess of Cambridge followed in the second carriage with her husband, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall. 

Kate departed from her typically tailored silhouette and stepped out in a flowing powder blue ensemble by Elie Saab – the first time she has worn the Lebanese label that has a host of A-list fans.

Sticking with her love of head-to-toe monochrome, the royal accessorised with a Philip Treacy hat and earrings by Kiki McDonough. However she did add a touch of colour with a new pair of £545 silver pumps by Gianvito Rossi.  

Royal arrival: The Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Cornwall arrived in a carriage with William and Charles

Family outing! The Queen, left, was joined by senior royals including Sophie Wessex, right, at Royal Ascot this afternoon

Race day ready: Prince Charles and the Duke of Cambridge both smiled as they arrived for Royal Ascot this afternoon  

VIP: Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, right, was given the honour of sitting beside the Queen in her carriage this afternoon

Royal blue! The Duchess of Cambridge joined Prince William and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, left, at Royal Ascot

Royal hosts: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge speak to King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands

TV presenters, models and society beauties led the glamour as Royal Ascot kicked off in style today. 

Lady Kitty Spencer, Kirsty Gallacher and Charlotte Hawkins were among the well-dressed racegoers who pulled out all the fashion stops and refused to let a bit of rain dampen their fun. 

Crisp white summer dresses, statement jumpsuits and hats decorated with bees were all on display as thousands of revellers descended on the Berkshire racecourse this morning.  

Leading the glamour: Kirsty Gallacher, left, Lady Kitty Spencer, centre, and Charlotte Hawkins, right, at Royal Ascot

Early arrivals: Author and businesswoman Chelsey Baker, left, milliner Ilda Di Vico, centre, and Jodie Kidd, right

Summer style: Lady Wilnelia Merced attended with a guest, left. Right, women give a masterclass in summer style

Creating a buzz: A racegoer in black and yellow, left, journalist Flora MacDonald Johnston, centre, and model Georgia Fowler

Sticking to the theme! Rebecca Johnson flashes a beautiful smile in her customised Royal Ascot hat at the course today

Feathered fancies: Head-to-toe orange was one racegoer’s bold look, left. Right, Zara Sassoon in a frothy white ensemble

More is more! Ines Herbioreportsdez from the Dominican Republic, left, wore a gloriously eye-catching hat for the occasion

Time for a selfie! Glamorous racegoers arrive for the first day of Royal Ascot as the five-day festival gets underway

Dream team! Racegoers pose for a snap on their way in, left. Right, Rebecca Johnson matches with her Royal Ascot date

Here come the girls! Viscountess Weymouth, left, racegoer Christina Wilson, centre, and singer Natalie Rushdie

Starting young! Dapper Chase Spranklin, 10, from Florida, was dressed to the nines for his outing to Royal Ascot today

Think pink! Whether it was floral (as seen on interior designer Anouska Lancaster, left) or feathers, pink was popular

Bringing a splash of colour: Elegant racegoers beam for the cameras as they soak up the atmosphere at Royal Ascot

Setting up camp: One of the favourite bits about Royal Ascot for many people is the picnic that takes place outside, pictured

Watch the hat! Designer Amanda Wakeley whips out an umbrella, left, and Zara Sassoon uses a hat box as a rain shield 

Cheers to them! A group of well-dressed racegoers toast to the start of a fun day with a picnic near Ascot Racecourse

The ultimate accessory! Umbrellas were needed to help keep racegoers dry as they made their Royal Ascot entrance

It won’t rain on their parade! Extra umbrellas were needed inside Ascot Racecourse but the spirits were still high

Royal Ascot is a much a social occasion as a sporting event and racegoers take the opportunity to turn on the style, from chic hats and summer dresses to sharp suits. 

Visitors to the high-profile racing event this year also have a wider choice of garb, as organisers say they are free to choose a gender dress code they ‘feel most comfortable’ with.

Under the changes, women will be allowed to dress like men and vice versa – as long as they stick to the rules.

This year’s Royal Enclosure dress code says ‘Gentleman’ must wear black or grey morning dress with a waist coat and tie. 

Picnic in the rain: Racegoers didn’t let a spot of damp weather put an end to their pre-Royal Ascot picnic

Ominous skies: Racegoers cross the course beneath cloudy grey skies, left, and take out umbrellas once inside, right

Time for a refreshment! Umbrellas in hand, revellers sat down to enjoyed a chilled drink inside the racecourse

Girls’ day out! Tangerine dresses were the order of the day for this gaggle of glamorous women at Royal Ascot

Strike a pose! Australian model Georgia Fowler made sure to give the photographer different angles as she arrived 

Great British summertime! A tablecloth, wine and silver ice bucket made this Royal Ascot picnic a very civilised affair

Turning heads: Ines Herbioreportsdez, left, and Rebecca Johnson, right, were among the standout arrivals at Royal Ascot

Pushing the boundaries: One woman dons a suit, left, following the relaxing of the Royal Ascot dress code this year

Can you ever have too many hats? Jodie Kidd makes a statement with a teetering tower of top hats at Royal Ascot 

‘Ladies’ are not allowed to wear strapless and off-the-shoulder dresses, while mid-riffs have to be covered and fascinators are also banned. 

In previous years, it has insisted attendees cover their midriffs and avoid wearing fascinators and that still stands.

While in previous years there has been no official style guide for the Windsor Enclosure, except to dress for a formal occasion, now female attendees are requested to wear fascinators, like those in the rest of the enclosures.

Royal Ascot has put in place strict dress codes since the early 19th century .

The race gathering’s famously strict clothing rules hark back to sartorial trailblazer Beau Brummell, who dictated the dress for men in the Royal Enclosure at the turn of the 19th century and was fond of cleaning his shoes with champagne.

Old fashioned glamour: A group of women in orange dresses strike a pose on their way into Royal Ascot

Retro glamour: A wicker Fortnum & Mason hamper completed the look for this stylish couple ready for a day at the races

Top hats and tails: Men weren’t left behind in the fashion stakes and pulled out their very best clothes for the occasion

Perfectly polished: The well-turned out Royal Ascot staff pose for a photo before festivities get into full swing at the course 

Flower power! Ines Herbioreportsdez from the Dominican Republic, left, and Victoria Muir, right, plump for floral hats 

Ready for the fun! Racegoers beamed as they arrived at Royal Ascot for the start of the five-day race meet today

Fun and fabulous: Journalist Flora MacDonald Johnston, left, and Edite Ligere show off extraordinary hats at Royal Ascot

Final touch-ups: A racegoer helps secure her friend’s navy fascinator as the pair kick off a day of fun at Royal Ascot

Getting excited! Elegant racegoers arrive by train, left, before making their way on foot to Ascot Racecourse, right

Quick change! Looking to save their feet, many women arrive in flats before swapping into heels on arrival, pictured

On their way! Racegoers snap a picture en route to the course, left, while two friends arrive in co-ordinating outfits, right

Time for tea! Racegoers enjoy a carpark picnic before heading in to start the fun inside Ascot Racecourse this morning 

Capturing the moment! Women pose for selfies, left, and arrive arm-in-arm for the first day of Royal Ascot this morning

Quiet moment: A well-dressed gentleman offers a flash of his Union Jack socks as he reads the newspaper in the carpark

Bubbles for two: With two glasses and a bottle on hand, this couple enjoy a civilised drink before heading into the racecourse 

Well prepared: A picnic table, chairs and several cool boxes are laid out as one group get ready for Royal Ascot

Making an entrance! A carriage is the traditional way to arrive for a day at the races – and shows no signs of going out of style

Off they trot! A group elected to arrive by horse-drawn carriage on the first day of Royal Ascot this morning

Great British past-time: Polite racegoers wait in line in their Ascot finery as they arrive at the Berkshire racecourse today

Guess where they’re going! Royal Ascot racegoers bring a splash of colour to London’s Waterloo station 

Ascot-bound! Racegoers stood out amid the suited commuters at London’s Waterloo station this morning, pictured

Standing out from the crowd: Bold hats of all shapes and sizes could be seen at London’s Waterloo station this morning

Guess where they’re going? London Waterloo was awash with eccentrically dressed racegoers this morning

Final adjustments: A man in a fabulous horse hat helped his friend straighten her hat before boarding the train at Waterloo

Ready to go! Women in sequined hats waited for their train to Ascot at London’s Waterloo this morning, pictured

Brightening up a grey day: Royal Ascot racegoers stroll through the station to catch their train to Ascot this morning

Drawing attention: Commuters couldn’t help but stare at the smartly dressed gentlemen dressed for Royal Ascot as they passed

Two return tickets to Ascot! Two gentlemen in top hats and tails bought their tickets to the racing festival at London Waterloo

Two years ago, the event broke with convention by allowing racegoers to wear jumpsuits in the Royal Enclosure for the first time.

Organisers also announced they would try to draw in a new breed of visitors by putting on a ‘party atmosphere’ and a ‘more vibrant feel’. 

Meanwhile, no changes have been made to rules for ‘Gentlemen’.

Juliet Slot, commercial director of Ascot, said: ‘Fashion and style are an important part of the Royal Ascot experience for all of our customers.’

The boys have arrived! Well-dressed gents clutching an edition of Racing Post arrive ready for the day at Royal Ascot

Security checks: Searches are carried out at the entrance to the Queen Anne Enclosure at Ascot Racecourse this morning

Bag checks: Security checks were in place for all racegoers as they made their way into the grounds this morning

On alert: A security officer and her sniffer dog move through the crowds at the entrance to Ascot Racecourse this morning

Ready to go! Impeccably dressed stewards are briefed as they prepare for the first day of Royal Ascot this morning

Safety checks: Police officers with sniffer dogs patrolled the grounds ahead of the arrival of racegoers at Royal Ascot

Patrol: Teams of police officers and sniffer dogs were dispatched to secure the racecourse ahead of the festival today 

Calm before the storm: The entrance to the Ascot Racecourse, where guest bag searches will take place during the day

Before the excitement: The beautiful parade ring at Ascot Racecourse ahead of the start of Royal Ascot today

How To Dress Well For Ascot  

Royal Enclosure 

Dresses and skirts should fall above the knee or longer 

Dresses and tops should have straps of one inch or greater

Jumpsuits are welcome, but should fall below the knee

Trouser suits welcome, but should be full length and of matching colour

Headpieces must have a solid base of four inches or more

Queen Anne Enclosure

Strapless dresses or tops are not permitted

A hat, headpiece or fascinator should be worn at all times

Trouser suits must be full length, jumpsuits should fall below the knee, shorts are not permitted

Village Enclosure

One shoulder dresses, strapless tops and bardot are nor permitted 

A hat, headpiece or fascinator must be worn at all times 

Trouser suits are welcome, they should be of full length and matching colour 

Jumpsuits are permitted but should be below the knee  

Windsor Enclosure 

Dress for a formal occasion, with a hat or fascinator

Read More

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